Day 4 of 21: Smell and the mystery of a hypnotic story

Here’s a mystery for you… imagine that Fiona is my new client, and in this fictional story, she describes her problem.

She’s had a dozen girlfriends leave her in the past few years. And she admits she doesn’t know why. Her last girlfriend just left her, and Fiona’s very frustrated at this pattern. She wonders, “Is this bad luck, or is it me?”

As I ask a few basic questions, she unconsciously gives me the solution. This doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does, my job is easy.

I decide to construct a hypnotic story on the spot. I say, “Fiona, what restaurants do you like?” And she tells me a few places she enjoys. She describes the aroma of dishes, the ambiance, etc.

And I say, “That reminds me of an experience I had. Take a guess on what I’m describing. I remember years ago thinking, ‘Ah, this smells so good! I wish I could eat it, but it’s not food.’ And I was thinking it’s still hot, so I’ll let it cool for a moment.”

“Then I thought, ‘Okay, that’s enough time. Oh, it doesn’t taste how I expected. In fact, there’s not much flavor. What a sweet, delicious smell. And a rather bland flavor. (Sigh) I’ve been fooled again.’ Fiona, what am I describing?”

She replies, “That’s easy. Tea.”

And I say, “You’re so right. I was thinking how many times do I get fooled by the smell of tea? In my case, I had just tasted honey ginseng green tea. And the smell was amazing. Has that ever happened to you with tea?” And she replied, “Oh, used to happen a lot.”

Then I say, “It’s like the Teavana blueberry tea episode all over again. Years earlier, my wife, Holly, and I were at Stonestown Galleria, a mall in San Francisco. And we had a sample of what I think was a blueberry tea. Or was it blackberry? Or was it a different type of fruit? Ah, doesn’t matter.”

“Whatever it was, it was delicious. One of the best I’ve tasted. We buy it, bring it home, make it, and it’s rather bland. Sadness, oh woe is me. We added a bit of sugar, and then it was gladness. It tasted like it did at the store.” She then tells me her favorite teas.

Then I say, “Yeah, I let myself get fooled many times by the intoxicating aroma of tea. But no more. Now, tea can’t fool me. I know tea, and I’m immune to its charms. Of course, I enjoy drinking tea. But the aroma casts no spell over me. I understand tea in a new way. I have broken free of the old ways. No more flavor fretting, because I know what I’m getting.”

Fiona talks a bit more about tea, and I say, in a joking way, “Tea, thou shall not tease me any longer. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me twenty times, and I’m a slow learner. But now, I know thee, and your name is tea.”

Before I continue this fictional story, let’s get to the heart of this mystery, What is the point of my tea story? And how can my tea story help Fiona?

In tomorrow’s post, we’ll explore this mystery by delving into how a hypnotic story works. Before then, consider the two questions…

2 Responses to “Day 4 of 21: Smell and the mystery of a hypnotic story”

  1. Mercedes Roman says:

    Is it her expectations of what a girlfriend should be, and the consequent pressure she might be placing on them to accommodate her expectations? And then realizing this will not make her happy either? The story can help her accept reality.

  2. William Song says:

    Mercedes, that’s a good interpretation. And there can be multiple ones. The next post will say more about my intention in telling the story.

Leave a Reply

870 Market St., Suite 851   San Francisco, CA 94102    Phone: (415) 421-7200